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EPC EUTRAN LTE Mobile Networks RFCs & Standards

Cell Broadcast in LTE

A look at how Cell Broadcast is signalling implemented between the MME and CBC in an LTE/EPC network.

Recently I’ve been wrapping my head around Cell Broadcast in LTE, and thought I’d share my notes on 3GPP TS 38.413.

The interface between the MME and the Cell Broadcast Center (CBC) is the SBc interface, which as two types of “Elementary Procedures”:

  • Class 1 Procedures are of the request – response nature (Request followed by a Success or Failure response)
  • Class 2 Procedures do not get a response, and are informational one-way. (Acked by SCTP but not an additional SBc message).

SCTP is used as the transport layer, with the CBC establishing a point to point connection to the MME over SCTP (Unicast only) on port 29168 with SCTP Payload Protocol Identifier 24.

The SCTP associations between the MME and the CBC should normally remain up – meaning the SCTP association / transport connection is up all the time, and not just brought up when needed.

Elementary Procedures

Write-Replace Warning (Class 1 Procedure)

The purpose of Write-Replace Warning procedure is to start, overwrite the broadcasting of warning message, as defined in 3GPP TS 23.041 [14].

Write-Replace Warning procedure, initiated by WRITE-REPLACE WARNING REQUEST sent by the CBC to the MMEs contains the emergency message to be broadcast and the parameters such as TAC to broadcast to, severity level, etc.

A WRITE-REPLACE WARNING RESPONSE is sent back by the MME to the MME, if successful, along with information as to where it was sent out. CBC messages are unacknowledged by UEs, meaning it’s not possible to confirm if a UE has actually received the message.

The request includes the message identifier and serial number, list of TAIs, repetition period, number of broadcasts requested, warning type, and of course, the warning message contents.

Stop Warning Procedure (Class 1 Procedure)

Stop Warning Procedure, initiated by STOP WARNING REQUEST and answered with a STOP WARNING RESPONSE, requests the MME inform the eNodeBs to stop broadcasting the CBC in their SIBs.

Includes TAIs of cells this should apply to and the message identifier,

Error Indication (Class 2)

The ERROR INDICATION is used to indicate an error (duh). Contains a Cause and Criticality IEs and can be sent by the MME or CBC.

Write Replace Warning (Class 2)

The WRITE REPLACE WARNING INDICATION is used to indicate warning scenarios for some instead of a WRITE-REPLACE WARNING RESPONSE,

PWS Restart (Class 2)

The PWS RESTART INDICATION is used to list the eNodeBs / cells, that have become available or have restarted, since the CBC message and have no warning message data – for example eNodeBs that have just come back online during the period when all the other cells are sending Cell Broadcast messages.

Returns a the Restarted-Cell-List IE, containing the Global eNB ID IE and List of TAI, of the restarted / reconnected cells.

PWS Failure Indication (Class 2)

The PWS FAILURE INDICATION is essentially the reverse of PWS RESTART INDICATION, indicating which eNodeBs are no longer available. These cells may continue to send Cell Broadcast messages as the MME has essentially not been able to tell it to stop.

Contains a list of Failed cells (eNodeBs) with the Global-eNodeB-ID of each.

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